My first Valentine’s Day in the Floral Industry
“Hang in there. It is astonishing how short a time it can take for very wonderful things to happen.”
- from “The Secret Garden”
Hello dear customers!
Do you see the signs of spring approaching everywhere? I sure do. Early daffodils and swaths of crocuses popped up last week when the weather warmed after the snow; fat buds of camellias are about to burst forth everywhere and in some sunny south-facing gardens have already unfurled their first flowers. These tiny changes can’t escape my rubber-necking notice as a I drive around our beautiful North Shore delivering bouquets.
And once one starts — they all go! Camellia, then cherry, then dogwood... wave upon wave of flowering branches are coming our way. After a long year of enduring waves of pandemic the return of spring takes on monumental significance this year and it will be a welcomed change to ride the waves of flowering trees!
What follows in this newsletter are a few tidbits I’d like to catch you up on. Sorry, no reflections on the confluence of flowers and literature this time! I’m far too busy making flower bouquets to wax poetic — thanks to all of you. Your word of mouth is really spreading, and I’m grateful for that!
Well I survived my first Valentine’s Day in the floral industry! It’s kind of silly actually, to designate one day of the year to sell a massive amount of perishable items. I could not believe how many roses there were at the wholesaler when I went to get my raw ingredients. I could also not believe how they jacked up the prices on the same things I buy every week! I was kind of offended actually: I thought, I’m not charging my customers more! So you know what I did, I went to Whole Foods and got my roses there with a Prime discount, the ones that appeared in your Forbidden Fruit bouquets. (I did hesitate for a moment and question whether I’m just further enriching Jeff Bezos, but then the thought struck me: No! I choose to think I’m enriching MacKenzie Bezos, who gives away her fortune to good causes faster than she can make it!)
But the silver lining is that when I went to the wholesaler this week they had tons of discounted stock so I was able to use some special blooms like delphinium that are not usually in my budget! (That’s the beauty of receiving flowers every week and not just one day a year!)
When I was driving around doing deliveries on February 14th I got this phone call, a man desperate to buy one of my bouquets for his wife, who had seen them at Delany’s coffee in Edgemont. (Side note: Everyday Bouquets is at Delany’s now! Thanks to Devin and Claire and the whole team who talk up these flowers to their customers, I love going there with new bouquets, such great people.) Anyway, the man said “You don’t have a store?” And I said “no I work out of my garage” and he goes “well I’m parked in front of your house right now” and so I pulled into the driveway, popped the trunk and let him pick one like I was selling stolen goods or knock-off handbags! I said kindly, “you’re lucky I have an extra one” and proceeded to tell him that if his wife liked it I could deliver a bouquet to her house every week. I could see his eyes narrow like he was thinking “here comes the sales pitch” and then I said “I volunteer all of my time to do this and all of the money helps families in need, specifically one family immigrating from Mexico right now” and then his face softened and he said sincerely “good for you!” and it was like the difference between Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Bezos.
(Commerce and philanthropy, one flows from the other. The more you make, the more you can give. But what about: the more you give, the more you can make? That’s the experiment I’m running with my business! This line of thought to be continued in future newsletters, I am totally getting off topic here...)
But back to Valentine’s Day! Special note: if you are this wonderful man’s wife and you’re reading this newsletter at Delany’s, the offer still stands, I’d love to bring you more bouquets!
And talk about giving on Valentine’s Day: I must acknowledge my husband Ben who watched both our toddlers all weekend and every evening leading up to Valentine’s Day so that I could arrange and deliver the influx of new subscriptions. He really took one for our family (business) team! He has a demanding job and solo parenting two toddlers is no break. Thank you Ben! (And every Wednesday and Thursday night he puts both of them to bed too.)
When I pulled into the driveway after my last delivery on the 14th, he was frazzled and a tad grumpy (I forgot to get the milk, he had been drinking black coffee all day) but he still said to me: my Valentine’s gift to you is a trip to the spa. But I took one look at him and said, “I don’t need to go to the spa. YOU need to go to the spa!” Because anyone with two toddlers at home knows he was working way harder than me!
Sorry about the confusion around the delivery dates to accommodate Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year. I noted this on the little printed schedules I delivered in your Welcome Packages but for some of you this was a small piece of paper I delivered prior to Christmas so I can understand why I got a bunch of emails last week asking “where are my flowers?” A flaw in the system I’m going to fix.
I’ve decided I will remove these special dates from the regular subscription calendar when they fall on off days so that your delivery dates are easy to remember:
THURSDAYS: North Vancouver
FRIDAYS: West Vancouver
There, that’s all you need to remember!
The last thing I want is for any of you thinking I forgot to deliver your flowers. (Because I try so hard to keep it all straight in my poor little mother’s brain! Ha.) And we all have so much to remember these days, so let’s keep it simple.
Mother’s Day falls on a Sunday of course, so I’m omitting that from the schedule and will think of another way to offer my bouquets on this traditional floral holiday that doesn’t gum up the regular delivery subscription schedule. Stay tuned!
Review: when your flowers fade, you can simply place your jar on your doorstep on your following delivery day and I’ll collect it for reuse when I deliver your next bouquet.
But if your bouquet is still going, just keep the jar and put it out when it’s done. And if you ever forget to place your jars on your doorsteps, don’t fret. I’m not hurting for jars these days and I can collect a bunch the next time you remember. But I do rely on recycling the jars to keep the costs down.
When I deliver the flowers for the first time, I give a little knock or ring your door bell, put the flowers on your stoop, and then stand back to see if you’ll answer so I can introduce myself from a safe social distance and thank you profusely for your support. On subsequent deliveries I tend to knock and run, like Amazon, shouting my thanks from the street as I run to my car for the next delivery!
All of the jars are wiped down with Lysol wipes before I place them on your doorstep and I’m constantly sanitizing my hands since I’m collecting used jars as well, so you can be assured of my Covid protocols.
So my friend Doug has been volunteering to help me with my website’s SEO in exchange for some bouquets. He’s a total expert at this and it’s working great, I’m getting calls for orders and when I ask how they heard about me they say “I just typed ‘florist north Vancouver’ into Google and you came up and I liked your charitable angle.” Awesome!
But Doug says what we really need to do is get 20 Google reviews. Something magic happens with the search algorithm at 20 reviews and it bumps up your search to the top of the results. He says we also need photos of flowers, and specifically customers with their bouquets, or customer bouquets displayed in your homes. Google likes this too.
So here’s my big ask: could you take some time and write a Google review for Everyday Bouquets?
I know this is kind of a pain, but when my dentist asked me to write a Google review for his clinic I was surprised how easy it actually was and vowed to write more.
If you’re a brand new customer, no rush, wait until you have a few bouquets under your belt.
And to sweeten the deal I’m going to offer this: when we get to 20 reviews I will totally splurge on some premium flower blooms for the ensuing bouquets! Something outrageously gorgeous like peonies or orchids or something just exquisite that I drool over at the wholesaler but walk past because it’s out of my budget. So as soon as we get to 20 reviews, there will be a very special bouquet for everyone coming your way as my thanks!
If you’ve already written a review that’s on my website please feel free to just copy that for your Google review. And I’m so happy to return the favour if I can write a helpful review for you too.
Ok, as always, I gotta stop typing so I can get to Staples and print this on my way to deliver it along with all your bouquets today! But also as always: thank you for encouraging me and trusting me in this new endeavour to effect a little bit of good. Updates on our philanthropy and profiles of our new volunteers will be coming in the next newsletter!
February 25, 2021